Andrew Workman, former Provost at RWU, was voted Interim President by the Board of Trustees on Tuesday, July 10 following the death of President Donald Farish.
While Workman serves as president of RWU, Bob Cole, former Vice Provost, has agreed to serve as Acting Provost for the next several months. Bob Shea will be serving as Vice Provost.
Workman joined the RWU community as Provost in 2012 and has served in this role for all six years he has been at the university.
Workman was hired by former president Donald J. Farish, and he told The Hawks’ Herald that one of the reasons why he came to Roger Williams was because of President Farish’s leadership, experience and vision.
“I considered him a mentor and I also considered him a friend,” said Workman.
He said he learned a great deal by working with President Farish — particularly about how to be the president of the university.
According to a statement released on the RWU website, Workman was previously at Mills College in Oakland, California for 19 years, working as a full-time faculty member, dean of social sciences and vice provost for academic affairs.
As for the next step, Workman says continuing Farish’s hopes for the university and finding a new president of RWU are the main goals for the upcoming year. He noted that academic searches typically take a year to complete, and that RWU had already begun the search for a new president when Farish announced his retirement back in May.
“We’re not going in any major new directions with the institution,” Workman told The Hawks’ Herald. “We’re building on the legacy of President Farish. We’re building a strong institution.”
As for who chooses the new president, Workman says a search committee will be built to help make that difficult decision. These committee members will be chosen by the Board of Trustees.
According to Ed Fitzpatrick, Director of Media and Public Relations, the board is finalizing decisions on "the size and composition of the full search committee, in consultation with the University’s search consultants – Isaacson, Miller." The university hopes to have the committee finalized by late August, and will include trustees, faculty members, staff and students.
Fitzpatrick also noted that the university is creating a website that will be dedicated to updates regarding the search for a new president at RWU, and will be open for the community to view.
According to Workman, in early fall, an advertisement for a new president will be sent out and RWU will be accepting applications from all over the country, and maybe even the world. These applicants will be reviewed in late fall/early winter, and the decision will be made in late winter/early spring. The new president of RWU will likely take office in July of 2019.
In the meantime, there will still be plenty of opportunities to remember President Farish and all his accomplishments for the RWU community.
“Right now, in this very early stage, we’re trying to help the community through their grief in the loss of President Farish, but we’re also really making sure that we maintain the momentum that he started.” Workman said.
The university announced on Tuesday, July 10, that funeral services for President Farish will be private, but all are welcome to attend calling hours on Thursday, July 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the University Residence located at 45 Ferry Road.
Also, in the announcement, the family requested that memorial contributions be made to the President Donald J. Farish Memorial Fund, where the contributions will supplement the institution’s initiatives, according to the family’s wishes.
Workman noted that he is very proud to have the opportunity to lead RWU and continue President Farish’s vision, and mentioned how much he looks forward to working with the students, faculty and staff in the coming year.
The university has announced several plans for the commemoration of President Farish once students return to RWU in the fall.
Updated July 11 at 2:20 p.m.